Minister announces £840,000 boost for farming innovation projects

Minister announces £840,000 boost for farming innovation projects
Mark Horton (Ballinderry Rivers Trust) along with Russell Forster and Nigel Murphy from CAFRE

Seven groups across Northern Ireland have been awarded £840,000 to work with farmers tackling problems including, cutting carbon emissions, improving water quality and improving animal health.

The grants were awarded by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) under the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) scheme.

The groups bring together expertise from advisers, researchers and businesses to take forward proposals which address a range of issues that farmers are currently facing.

Announcing the funding award, Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons said: “It is very encouraging to see farmers, advisers, researchers and industry representatives coming together to develop innovative solutions to real issues on the key themes of environmental sustainability, improving productivity and animal health and welfare. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this work rolled out to the wider agri-food industry over the next three years.”

Win-win solutions

Mark Horton MBE, project manager for the Water Innovation Network group, thanked DAERA for the support provided by the EIP scheme, saying: “We are delighted that we have been awarded European Innovation Partnership funding to deliver a project that will develop and trial innovative ways for farmers to manage water across the farm, providing win-win solutions for both farm businesses and our freshwater environment.

“Using a combination of digital technologies and nature-based water managements systems, we will work with farmers in the Ballinderry River catchment, near Cookstown, to trial water management solutions that can make environmental protection less costly for our farmers, whilst protecting our precious rivers, loughs and the wildlife that depend on them.”

The EIP scheme, is part of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme and is also part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and delivered by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural enterprise